It’s no secret that dark green veggies are among the best foods for good health. Unfortunately, they're not always front and center when it comes to our everyday meals.
But even though it can be a challenge to get your greens, there are plenty of quick and easy ways to incorporate these superfoods into your daily diet.
What Are Greens?
The word “greens” gets thrown around a lot these days. But what exactly does it mean to be green? Greens are edible plant leaves that are a delicious addition to any meal. And since many greens can be eaten either raw or cooked, they are wonderfully versatile. The most popular greens include:
- Bok choy
- Broccoli raab
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Swiss Chard
Smart Tip: When shopping for greens, look for crisp leaves with deep colors. Avoid those that appear limp, wilted, or discolored. And try to opt for organic whenever possible. Conventionally grown spinach, kale, and mustard and collard greens are near the top of Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue.
Why Greens Are So Important
Leafy green vegetables are an excellent source of nutrition and an important part of a healthy diet. They’re packed full of essential vitamins, such as A, C, and E, and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. In fact, one cup of cooked spinach contains a whopping 158 mg of magnesium. And a recent meta-analysis of over one million participants showed that a higher intake of dietary magnesium was associated with a 22 percent decrease in heart failure risk, a 7 percent reduction in stroke risk, a 19 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and a 10 percent drop in all-cause mortality.1
What’s more, dark green leafy vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates, making them an ideal food for healthy body-weight management. Green vegetables also contain dietary fiber, which helps regulate the digestive system and promotes bowel health.
3 Easy Ways to Get More Greens
Bumping up the amount of greens you eat is easier than you think. Here are three tips to get more green goodness in your daily diet.
- Be Prepared
Busy schedules often mean taking the path of least resistance when it’s time to eat. And that can lead straight to the drive-through or food-delivery app—options typically low in veggies. But you can give yourself a head start on healthy homemade meals by prepping your greens ahead of time and storing them in the fridge. Having them available will allow you to quickly include them into your meals with little fuss.
Frozen vegetables are also a good option. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that frozen veggies like spinach retain their vitamin content, making them a healthy alternative to fresh.2 Another bonus? Frozen vegetables are often cheaper and easier to prepare. They also have a longer shelf life and are available year-round.
- Add Them to Every Meal
Greens go with pretty much everything. Toss some greens into your morning omelet. Include some kale or spinach in your soup or stew. Or sneak a handful into your post-workout smoothie.
And don’t let dining out distract you from your quest for more greens. Instead of the wedge salad, go for one with mixed greens. Ordering a sandwich? Turn the classic BLT into a delicious bacon, spinach and tomato sandwich. Because greens offer a rich texture and flavor, there are seemingly endless opportunities to make them part of your daily meals.
Need more inspiration? Try one of these tasty recipes:
Green Immune Boosting Shot
Makes Two Shots
- 3 large handfuls of spinach
- 1 medium sized cucumber
- ½ lemon, peel removed
- 4 teaspoons Kyo-Green Harvest Blend
- Place the spinach, cucumber and lemon in a juicer.
- Mix the Harvest Blend into the juice. Pour into two shot glasses and enjoy
Nut Butter Green Bites
Makes six bites
- ½ cup almond butter
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons chocolate protein powder
- 1 tablespoon Kyo-Green Harvest Blend
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a course, but moldable mixture forms
- Form mixture into small, bite-sized balls and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet
- Lace in refrigerator for an hour and enjoy!
Extra “Green” Pesto
Yields one cup
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon Kyo-Green Greens Blend
- Pulse the basil and pine nuts in a food processor
- Add the garlic and cheese, and Kyo-Green Greens Blend
- Slowly pour in the olive oil and pulse in food processor once more
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Take a Daily Greens Powder Supplement
Whether you already consume a lot of greens or you’re trying to be more consistent with your intake, adding a greens powder supplement like Kyo-Green Powdered Drink Mix can work wonders for your health. This unique supplement boasts a powerful combination of superfoods including barley grass, which promotes sleep, protects the liver, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease;3 wheat grass, which regulates blood sugar, supports healthy skin, and slows cellular aging;4 and chlorella, which lowers blood pressure, decreases cholesterol levels, and speeds up wound healing.5 If that weren’t enough, these ingredients also support immunity, cognition, and gastrointestinal function.
Traveling or on the go? Kyo-Green Powdered Drink Mix is also available in convenient single-serve packets. Simply mix with juice or water for your daily dose of greens.
No healthy diet is complete without a daily supply of green nutrition. By incorporating these tips and recipes you can easily get the greens you need every day—no matter where you are.
- Fang X. Dietary magnesium intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality: a dose response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMC Medicine. 2016;14:210.
- Bouzari A. Vitamin retention in eight fruits and vegetables: a comparison of refrigerated and frozen storage. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 2015;63(3):957–62.
- Zeng Y. Preventive and therapeutic role of functional ingredients of barley grass for chronic diseases in human beings. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2018;3232080.
- Chauhan M. A pilot study on wheat grass juice for its phytochemical, nutritional and therapeutic potential on chronic diseases. International Journal of Chemical Studies. 2014;2(4):27–34.
- Rani K. A comprehensive review on chlorella-its composition, health benefits, market and regulatory scenario. The Pharma Innovation Journal. 2018;7(7):584–9.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.